Web Cooking Classes with Chef Todd MohrWeb Cooking Classes with Chef Todd Mohr

By Chef Todd

How We’re Cooking Pork Tenderloin in Chef College

Cooking pork tenderloin will be the focus of our Elements of Entrée Production class today, as we’re serving 30 hungry diners using a Family Style Service in cooperation with the Hospitality class in the next room.

It’s great exposure to both sides of dining room service for the students, because our class produces the food using specific cooking methods, and they serve it using a variety of service methods. When they’ve completed these two classes, the students will have been exposed to both the front and back of the house.

That’s our challenge today, to work together to provide outstanding food and service to 30 people invited to lunch at chef college. Today’s meal will be served using a Family Style approach. Simply, this means that platters of food are placed on the table for diners to serve themselves.

The best example of Family Style service is the American tradition of Thanksgiving Dinner. The family is gathered around the dining table and the food is displayed in the center. Each person can serve themselves, or it’s more polite to assist someone else in plating their food.

The hospitality class also examines Russian style service, similar to Family Style except a waiter makes the plates from a platter. French style has the meals prepared from a tableside cart called gueridon. A la Carte service is like a typical restaurant, prepared to order. Lastly, Coordinated service is like a banquet hall where everyone gets a pre-made plate, served simultaneously.

Since it’s Family Style service today, our class wants to create a Fall Harvest menu that might be reminiscent of a country inn. That’s why we’re stuffing and cooking pork tenderloin with cranberries and apples to sit beside country smashed potatoes and string beans with almonds.

The first skill in preparing the stuffed pork is using a boning knife to create a cavity for our apples and cranberry compote. Using a very sharp knife, an incision is made along the length of the pork tenderloin at a 45 degree angle. This shouldn’t be deep enough to cut entirely through the meat, just about half-depth to create an angled slit.

The second cut with the knife is also a 45 degree half-depth cut, but now against the inside wall of the previous cut. The long muscle should now open up with a small ridge in the middle. This technique not only gives the future chefs a place to put the stuffing, but also creates a consistent thickness throughout the pork so it will cook consistently.

The stuffing is an easy thing to make. Everyone at chef college already knows how to sauté, so a simple sauté of diced apples, cranberries, onion, thyme and sage is a cinch for these students. The apples will start to release some of their juice during cooking, combining with other ingredients to make a great stuffing. After it’s cooled, we’re ready to stuff.

The next skill for this Fall harvest dish is how to truss a piece of meat. These stuffed tenderloins won’t stay together during cooking, so they must be tied. With a piece of butcher’s twine that is at least 4 times as long as the piece of meat, we’ll tie it around the farthest end with a knot.

The twine is passed under the pork and the loose end is threaded through the loop created by pulling on the opposite end. Thread under the loop and pull tight. Then pass the twine under the meat again and repeat the process until the stuffing is secured.

Cooking pork tenderloin in a convective manner is the right choice for this type of meat. Because it’s thicker than a normal steak, it has to be cooked softly and slowly. It will burn on the outside before cooking in the middle if we try to sauté or grill it. We wouldn’t choose to fry in a pan either, so, off to the oven it goes until it reaches a finished internal temperature of 165F (74c).

A few hours later, our guests are enjoying a great Fall Harvest meal and our Elements of Entrée Production class can be proud of their efforts. They’ve created a unique meal, using many different cooking methods that was served to the enjoyment of the guests. Perhaps the greatest benefit of chef college is the pride you feel after providing other people a great meal. That’s why we do it.

Starting TODAY, you can cook healthier, better tasting food and STILL save money.

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By Chef Todd

What Will Tomorrows Chefs Learn in Chef College?

Chef college is calling me…again! I’m on the same campus that inspired me to become a chef, but now I’m the one doing the teaching. Call me “Professor” if you’d like, but the correct response in this school is “Yes, Chef”! I’ve returned to my alma mater in Baltimore to help shape the minds and skills of tomorrow’s next great chefs.

Discover what tomorrow’s great chefs are learning in my classroom by subscribing to the RSS feed for my blog, or “LIKE” me on facebook and you’ll get the latest class notes. I’ll be reporting from the culinary lab each week with the actual lesson plan that my students experience.

The Chef College has entrusted me to help prepare these students for a career in the culinary arts. I think it’s the most noble of professions and worth the commitment it takes to graduate from a chef college that can make you immediately employable or entrepreneurial.

My class is “Elements of Entrée Production”. The class studies basic cooking methods as they apply to a commercial foodservice operation. This instruction runs in tandem with the class across the hall, “Elements of Hospitality Service”, which studies different service styles in restaurants and banquet halls.

My students will prepare food using one of the basic cooking methods each week. The Hospitality class will serve invited guests and the general public in a certain style of service. For example, my class will prepare a menu using the saute method and it will be served “family style”, where large platters are shared by the table.

The following week may be grilling method and we’ll design a menu of grilled items to be served in the dining room “a la carte”, like a restaurant where a waiter supplies an order to the kitchen. Then, it might be food that is braised paired with French tableside service.

I call it “welcome to the real world” because it’s not about culinary theory, it’s about actually producing quality food under the time pressures of a commercial kitchen.

The new semester is just starting, but I wanted to invite you to peek into my classroom and look forward to the coming series of videos and blog posts that will share the many professional level techniques and methods that my students are learning, so that you might bring them into your own home.

You can save the tuition of chef college and still get the benefits by subscribing to the RSS feed, or LIKE-ing me on facebook. Wait! I think the bell just rang. Don’t be late, and don’t forget your knives. “Yes, Chef”!

Discover the difference between how professionals and home cooks are taught in my next
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Claim your FREE Spot for the next webinar session by CLICKING HERE